Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

K Evin H Ouston v. N Assau C County

February 2, 2011

K EVIN H OUSTON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
N ASSAU C COUNTY, K ATHLEEN R ICE, N ASSAU C COUNTY POLICE D DEPARTMENT, AND ROBERT D UNN, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Joseph F. Bianco United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Joseph F. Bianco, District Judge: Amended Complaint in its entirety pursuant to Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Pro se plaintiff Kevin Houston Procedure. For the reasons that follow, the ("plaintiff") filed the complaint in this action Court: (1) grants the motion to dismiss the under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on January 11, 2008. Section 1983 claims as to defendants Nassau Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint on County Police Department, Nassau County, March 3, 2008, alleging Section 1983 claims, and District Attorney Kathleen Rice, (2) as well as state law claims, against the denies the motion to dismiss the Section 1983 following defendants: Nassau County, claims against Detective Robert Dunn, and (3) Kathleen Rice, the Nassau County District grants the motion to dismiss the state law Attorney; the Nassau County Police claims against all defendants without Department, and Detective Robert Dunn. The prejudice. complaint focuses on alleged constitutional violations in connection with the arrest and I.

BACKGROUND

prosecution of the plaintiff for sexual abuse and attempted rape, which resulted in The following facts are taken from the acquittal on all charges. Amended Complaint. These facts are not findings of fact by the Court, but rather are The defendants have moved to dismiss the assumed to be true and are construed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. a motion to appoint counsel. On July 22, See Giardina v. Nassau County, No. 08 CV 2010, defendants filed a reply. On January 2007 (JFB) (WDW), 2010 WL 1850793, *1 14, 2011, the Court denied the motion to (E.D.N.Y. May 7, 2010). appoint counsel without prejudice to plaintiff renewing the application at a later stage of the A. The Amended Complaint proceedings, if circumstances warrant such an application. The motion to dismiss is fully According to the Amended Complaint, on submitted.

September 20, 2006, plaintiff was questioned by Detective Robert Dunn of the Nassau County Police Department in connection with a suspected attempted rape. Plaintiff Courts evaluate a motion for judgment on cooperated fully with Detective Dunn and was the pleadings pursuant to Federal Rule of told that he was free to go pending an Civil Procedure 12(c) under the same standard investigation. On April 14, 2006, Detective as a motion pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Dunn "closed the case citing lack of evidence Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim. and no dna evidence." (Am. Compl. at 2.) Nicholas v. Goord, 430 F.3d 652, 657 n.8 (2d On June 29, 2006, plaintiff was arrested by Cir. 2005), abrogated on other grounds Detective Dunn who, according to plaintiff, Samson v. California, 547 U.S. 843 (2006). stated in an arrest report "that after a In reviewing a motion to dismiss pursuant to discussion with the District Attorney's office Rule 12(b)(6), the Court must accept the the decision was made to arrest [plaintiff]." factual allegations set forth in the complaint (Id.) Plaintiff was charged with sexual abuse as true and draw all reasonable inferences in and attempted rape and was incarcerated at favor of the plaintiff. See Cleveland v. the Nassau County jail for over eight months Caplaw Enters., 448 F.3d 518, 521 (2d Cir. prior to trial. (Id.) On or about March 30, 2006); Nechis v. Oxford Health Plans, Inc., 2007, plaintiff was acquitted by a jury on all 421 F.3d 96, 100 (2d Cir. 2005). "In order to counts. (Id.) Plaintiff states in the Amended survive a motion to dismiss under Rule Complaint that he is "claiming false arrest, 12(b)(6), a complaint must allege a plausible and detainment by Kathleen Rice and det. set of facts sufficient 'to raise a right to relief Dunn." (Id.) Plaintiff further states that he is above the speculative level.'" Operating "also claiming defamation of character, and Local 649 Annuity Trust Fund v. Smith slander by all defendants." (Id.) Plaintiff Barney Fund Mgmt. LLC, 595 F.3d 86, 91 (2d seeks $1.5 million in damages. Cir. 2010) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). This standard does not require

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

B. Procedural History "heightened fact pleading of specifics, but only enough facts to state a claim to relief that On January 11, 2008, plaintiff filed the is plausible on its face." Twombly, 550 U.S. complaint in this Court. On March 3, 2008, at 570. plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint. On September 15, 2009, defendants filed an The Supreme Court recently clarified the answer. On June 15, 2010, defendants filed a appropriate pleading standard in Ashcroft v. motion to dismiss. On July 15, 2010, plaintiff Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937 (2009), setting forth a filed his opposition to the motion, along with two-pronged approach for courts deciding a motion to dismiss. The Court instructed Although plaintiff alleges causes of action district courts to first "identify[ ] pleadings against the Nassau County Police Department, that, because they are no more than "under New York law, departments that are conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption merely administrative arms of a municipality of truth." 129 S. Ct. at 1950. Though "legal do not have a legal identity separate and apart conclusions can provide the framework of a from the municipality and, therefore, cannot complaint, they must be supported by factual sue or be sued." See Davis v. Lynbrook allegations." Id. Second, if a complaint Police Dep't, 224 F. Supp. 2d 463, 477 contains "well-pleaded factual allegations, a (E.D.N.Y. 2002) (dismissing claim against court should assume their veracity and then Lynbrook Police Department); see also Hall determine whether they plausibly give rise to v. City of White Plains, 185 F. Supp. 2d 293, an entitlement to relief." Id. 303 (S.D.N.Y. 2002) ("Because plaintiff has named the City of White Plains as a Where, as here, the plaintiff is proceeding defendant, any claims against the [White pro se, "[c]courts are obliged to construe the Plains Department of Public Safety] are [plaintiff's] pleadings . . . liberally." redundant. WPDPS does not have its own McCluskey v. N.Y. State Unified Court Sys., legal identity, and therefore the claims against No. 10-CV-2144 (JFB)(ETB), 2010 WL it are dismissed."); Polite v. Town of 2558624, at *2 (E.D.N.Y. June 17, 2010) Clarkstown, 60 F. Supp. 2d 214, 216 (citing Sealed Plaintiff v. Sealed Defendant, (S.D.N.Y. 1999) ("[M]unicipal departments in 537 F.3d 185, 191 (2d Cir. 2008) and this State-such as the Clarkstown Police McEachin v. McGuinnis, 357 F.3d 197, 200 Department-are not amenable to suit, and no (2d Cir. 2004)). Nonetheless, even though the claims can lie directly against them."); Wilson Court construes a pro se complaint liberally, v. City of N.Y., 800 F. Supp. 1098, 1101 the complaint must still "'state a claim to (E.D.N.Y. 1992) ("The court also dismisses relief that is plausible on its face'" to survive the claims against the New York City Police a motion to dismiss. Mancuso v. Hynes, 09- Department, which cannot be sued CV-4393, 2010 WL 2131009, at *1 (2d Cir. independently because it is an agency of the May 27, 2010) (quoting Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at City of New York."). Plaintiff's allegations 1949); see also Harris v. Mills, 572 F.3d 66, against the Police Department are more 72 (2d Cir. 2009) (applying Twombly and properly raised in claims against Nassau Iqbal to pro se complaint). County, which plaintiff has also named as a defendant. Accordingly, the Nassau County Police Department is dismissed as a defendant.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Claim Against Nassau County Police

Department

Defendant Nassau County Police

Department argues that the claims against it should be dismissed because it is a nonsueable entity of Nassau County, and that the claims should only be brought against Nassau County. As set forth below, the Court agrees.

B. Claims Against Nassau County District Here, D.A. Rice has absolute prosecutorial Attorney Kathleen Rice immunity because her alleged actions fall squarely within the scope defined by the Defendant Nassau County District Supreme Court. In particular, plaintiff's Attorney Kathleen Rice ("D.A. Rice") claims against D.A. Rice arise from his contends that she is entitled to absolute assertion that she had an insufficient basis to immunity for the claims plaintiff attempts to prosecute plaintiff for sexual abuse and assert against her for acts allegedly committed attempted rape. However, both the Supreme within the scope of her official duties. As set Court and Second Circuit have made clear forth below, the Court agrees. that the decision regarding whether or not to initiate prosecution is a quintessential "'It is by now well established that a state prosecutorial function that is entitled to prosecuting attorney who acted within the absolute immunity. See Imbler, 424 U.S. at scope of his duties in initiating and pursuing 431 (absolute immunity exists for "initiating a criminal prosecution is immune from a civil a prosecution"); Ying Jing Gan, 996 F.2d at suit for damages under § 1983.'" Crews v. 530 ("A prosecutor thus has absolute Cnty. of Nassau, No. 06-CV-2610 immunity in connection with the decision (JFB)(WDW), 2007 WL 4591325, at *13 whether or not to commence a prosecution."); (E.D.N.Y. Dec. 27, 2007) (quoting Shmueli v. accord Johnson v. City of N.Y., No. City of New York,424 F.3d 231, 236 (2d Cir. 00CIV.3626(SHS), 2000 WL 1335865, at *2 2005)). "Prosecutorial immunity from § 1983 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 15, 2000) (stating that liability is broadly defined, covering 'virtually prosecutorial functions protected by absolute all acts, regardless of motivation, associated immunity "include the decision to bring with [the prosecutor's] function as an charges against a defendant."). Accordingly, advocate.'" Hill v. City of New York, 45 F.3d D.A. Rice is entitled to absolute prosecutorial 653, 661 (2d Cir. 1995) (quoting Dory v. immunity, and plaintiff's § 1983 claims Ryan, 25 F.3d 81, 83 (2d Cir. 1994)). For against her are dismissed.*fn1 example, in Hill, the Second Circuit held that an Assistant District Attorney's alleged acts of, inter alia, "conspiring to present falsified C. Claims Against Nassau County 733-36 (1989), and Monell, 436 U.S. at 692-94). "The policy or custom need not be Defendant Nassau County argues that the memorialized in a specific rule or regulation." claims against the County cannot survive a Kern v. City of Rochester, 93 F.3d 38, 44 (2d motion to dismiss because plaintiff's Cir. 1996) (citing Sorlucco v. New York City Amended Complaint fails to identify any Police Dep't, 971 F.2d 864, 870 (2d Cir. governmental policy or custom that caused a 1992)). A policy, custom, or practice of the constitutional injury. As set forth below, the municipal entity may be inferred where "'the Court agrees. municipality so failed to train its employees as to display a deliberate indifference to the In order to state a claim for relief under constitutional rights of those within its Section 1983, a plaintiff must allege: (1) the jurisdiction.'" Patterson, 375 F.3d at 226 deprivation of any rights, privileges or (quoting Kern, 93 F.3d at 44). immunities secured by the Constitution and federal law, (2) by a person acting under the However, a municipal entity may only be color of state law. 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Section held liable where the entity itself commits a 1983 does not itself provide substantive wrong; "a municipality cannot be held liable rights, but in fact offers "a method for under § 1983 on a respondeat superior vindicating federal rights elsewhere theory." Monell, 436 U.S. at 691; see also conferred." Patterson v. Cnty. of Oneida, 375 Segal v. City of N.Y., 459 F.3d 207, 219 (2d F.3d 206, 225 (2d Cir. 2004) (quoting Baker Cir. 2006) ("Monell does not provide a v. McCollan, 443 U.S. 137, 144 n. 3 (1979)); separate cause of action for the failure by the Sykes v. James, 13 F.3d 515, 519 (2d Cir. government to train its employees; it extends 1993) ("Section 1983 itself creates no liability to a municipal organization where substantive rights; it provides only a that organization's failure to train, or the procedure for redress for the deprivation of policies or customs ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.